Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen

Hilma af Klint, The Dove, Noi (photograph: Albin Dahlström/Courtesy of Stiftelse
Hilma af Klint, The Dove, Noi (photograph: Albin Dahlström/Courtesy of Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk)

Kate Kellaway profiles painter Hilma Af Klint on the occasion of the exhibition Hilma af Klint Painting the Unseen at the Serpentine Gallery, London on view March 3 - May 15, 2016.

Kellaway writes: "Between 1906-1915, there followed 193 paintings – an astonishing outpouring – known as the Paintings for the Temple. Whatever one’s misgivings about the occult, [Af Klint] worked as if possessed – in the grip of what can only be described as inspiration. She explained that the pictures were painted 'through' her with 'force' – a divine dictation: 'I had no idea what they were supposed to depict… I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.' It is as if Af Klint has appeared out of nowhere – inconveniently for art historians. And the question she raises will not recede: was she a quirky outsider, or was she Europe’s first abstract painter, central to the history of abstract art?"